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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

Modi govt wants to keep Lokayukta in its clutches: Sibal

PTI  New Delhi, October 29, 2013
First Published: 15:30 IST(29/10/2013) | Last Updated: 15:32 IST(29/10/2013)
Law minister Kapil Sibal on Tuesday slammed the BJP for adopting 'double standards' in dealing with corruption, saying the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat is trying to keep the proposed state Lokayukta in its 'clutches.'

 
Sibal's remarks came days after the Gujarat Assembly passed a new Lokayukta bill establishing the primacy of the Chief Minister and the government in the appointment of the anti-corruption watchdog.
 
"BJP has a double face. They want something else for their state and something different for the central government. In Gujarat, it is completely opposite from what they propose for central government. This clearly shows their double standards in politics," Sibal told reporters here.
 
He was asked to comment on the new Lokayukta Ayog Bill passed by the Gujarat Assembly earlier this month as Uttarakhand CM Vijay Bahuguna met him here today to discuss the fate of the Lokayukta bill passed by the previous BJP government in the hill state.
 
"They want a Lokpal for central government which should have such a level of transparency that exists nowhere in the world. But when it comes to Gujarat, the CM will appoint Lokayukta...it is a state where Lokayukta has not been appointed for the past 10 years," the Union Minister said.
 
He accused the Gujarat government of trying to keep Lokayukta in its "clutches".
 
"But they want the Lokpal to be a free bird keeping eye on every issue. For Gujarat, they want the CM to keep eye on everything," he said.
 
The Gujarat assembly had recently passed the Gujarat Lokayukta Ayog Bill 2013 for a second time without incorporating any major changes sought by the Raj Bhavan, setting the stage for a fresh confrontation.
 
Governor Kamla Beniwal had on September 3 returned the bill, passed by the Assembly on April 2, to the government for reconsideration, dubbing the legislation as "complete mockery of the judicial process and detrimental to the interests of public welfare".
 
In the existing Gujarat Lokayukta Act 1986, the power of selection of lokayukta is vested with the Governor and the Chief Justice of the High Court. The new bill provides for the appointment by a six-member committee headed by the chief minister.
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